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Traditional vs. Implant-supported Dental Bridge

By Stephen Dowell, DDS on September 18, 2018


Digital image showing traditional vs. implant-supported bridgeGaps between the teeth can detract from a beautiful smile. More significantly, however, these spaces can lead to shifting over time, resulting in bite problems, TMJ issues, and more. Therefore, we always recommend replacing missing teeth to preserve your oral health.

Dental bridges can fill in the space left behind by missing teeth. Here, we discuss traditional vs. implant-supported dental bridges and explore the pros and cons of each option. To find out if you are a good candidate, contact our Minerva, OH practice.

About Traditional Bridges

Traditional bridges have been used in the dental field for decades. Milled from a solid block of ceramic, zirconia, or another material, a bridge consists of two dental crowns with pontics (artificial teeth) between them.

The restoration is designed to fit over the natural teeth on either side of the gap, completing your smile. In most cases, bridges are intended to replace one to three missing teeth in a row.

Pros of Traditional Bridges

Generally, traditional bridges are more affordable than their implant-supported counterparts. They can also be placed much quicker, in about one to two weeks compared to several months. Traditional bridges are often recommended for patients who cannot undergo oral surgery due to health reasons.

Cons of Traditional Bridges

The most significant disadvantage of traditional bridges is that the natural teeth must be filed down to accommodate the restoration. This involves removing some of the enamel on the adjacent teeth, which can compromise their structure over time, making them more susceptible to decay and damage.

Additionally, traditional bridges will need to be replaced at some point; their average lifespan is approximately 10 to 20 years.

About Implant-supported Bridges

While traditional bridges rest atop the natural teeth for stability, implant-supported bridges are connected to dental implants. The restorations themselves are designed similarly to traditional bridges, with two dental crowns connected to artificial teeth.

Pros of Implant-supported Bridges

Implant-based restorations offer the most reliable tooth replacement solution. In fact, with proper care, implant-supported bridges can last a lifetime. Additionally, these restorations do not require the removal of natural tooth structure. Therefore, optimal oral health is preserved.

Cons of Implant-supported Bridges

There are very few disadvantages to implant-supported bridges. However, the most notable is the length of time required to complete treatment.

Before the final restoration can be connected, the dental implants must heal and integrate with the surrounding jawbone. This process, called osseointegration, typically takes between three and six months to complete. Depending on bone density and healing capacity, some patients may need to wait longer.

Although an implant-supported bridge requires oral surgery and a few months of healing, most patients find that this option is well worth the wait. During a consultation at our practice, we can determine if an implant-supported bridge is right for you.

Contact Us to Learn More

If you are missing teeth, a dental bridge can complete your smile and restore your chewing function. To explore your treatment options and eligibility, schedule a consultation at Dowell Dental Group. Contact us online or call us at one of our four office locations.

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